Nets' Updated Roster, Starting Lineup After LaMarcus Aldridge Contract

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2021

San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets have added another seven All-Star appearances to their cabal of big-name talent.

LaMarcus Aldridge committed to joining the Nets on Saturday, agent Jeff Schwartz told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Nets hope Aldridge will help fortify their big-man rotation, with the former San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers star joining Blake Griffin among Brooklyn's buyout coups. San Antonio reached a buyout agreement with Aldridge after failing to trade him by Thursday's deadline.

Here's a look at the Nets' projected rotation.

  • PG: James Harden, Chris Chiozza
  • SG: Kyrie Irving, Landry Shamet, Tyler Johnson
  • SF: Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
  • PF: Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Alize Johnson
  • C: LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Nicolas Claxton

The Nets roster now has a combined 41 All-Star appearances, by far the most among NBA teams.

While the names are clearly starry, Aldridge, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are well beyond their primes. Aldridge averaged 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21 games with the Spurs this season, figures that were the worst or second-worst of his career.

The Spurs chose to move forward without Aldridge despite being firmly in the Western Conference playoff race, replacing him with Jakob Poeltl. San Antonio was 7.2 points per 100 possessions worse with Aldridge on the floor this season, per Basketball Reference. His decline was particularly noticeable on the defensive end, as opponents recorded a 116.8 offensive rating with Aldridge in the lineup.

The Nets have an impressive accumulation of talent but a glaring defense problem. Neither James Harden nor Kyrie Irving has ever been a plus defender; Aldridge, Griffin and Jordan are well beyond their primes and can't hang on that end the way they used to; Kevin Durant is arguably the team's best defensive starter, and he's coming off an Achilles rupture and has missed almost half the season with a hamstring injury.

There's a possibility that Aldridge, Griffin or Jordan will be left out of the rotation in favor of the more switchable Nicolas Claxton by the postseason. Claxton has been impressive in using his size and athleticism in the middle since the Nets' trade of Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

At the very least, this isn't the home run signing it may appear to be on paper.